You must only be seen, not heard


Take the recent freedom of religion and apostasy issue as another example. Everyone has something to say about that, mostly the non-Malays and non-Muslims. You hide behind freedom of speech to attack Islam. You, the non-Malays and non-Muslims, demand that Malays-Muslims be allowed the right to leave Islam. You say that Islam is an outdated religion from the Dark Ages and any religion that does not allow its proponents to leave is a bad religion.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Hmm…now PAS and Umno are calling each other the party of devils. Actually, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed quoted the saying ‘better the devil you know’. I think what he said was: ‘better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know’. The correct idiom is ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’.

Nevertheless, whichever it may be, what it means is: you take your chances with the known rather than take your chances with the unknown. In short, both are risks. But one risk is a known risk while the other is an unknown risk.

I suppose if you know for sure then you just go with the proven thing. You need not dabble in the unknown. However, when you are not sure, then you stick with what you know.

No doubt this latest round of name-calling is about whether Barisan Nasional is a better devil than Pakatan Rakyat or whether Umno is a better devil than PAS. If we go by the adage of ‘better the devil you know’, that would mean you know one of the devils but you are not really quite sure of the other. Hence choose the one that you know.

This ‘ideology’ probably makes sense in some situations. This, however, does not apply to everything. It all depends on what you hope to achieve.

Are you talking about the economy? Are you talking about abuse of power and corruption? Are you talking about civil liberties and human rights? Are you talking about racism and political persecution? Are you talking about freedom of religion? Are you talking about transparency and good governance? Are you talking about public perception and investor confidence?

You would be idealistic to expect a package deal. You must compromise on some things in the interest of others. For example, PAS would offer a more honest and corrupt-free government compared to Umno. But PAS would be less tolerant of apostasy and proselytising compared to Umno. You gain on one but you must be prepared to lose on the other.

I have been accused of being too idealistic for expecting the perfect form of government. Actually, I am more realistic than many of you give me credit for. No, I do not aspire for perfection. I am realistic enough to know that perfection is quite impossible to achieve. What I aspire for is the perfect balance where we can see a compromise of sorts. There are certain things that are priorities and certain things that may have to be sacrificed for the sake of these priorities.

So what are our priorities and what are we prepared to sacrifice for these priorities?

During the Siege of Leningrad in the Second World War, the Russians adopted the same strategy that they used to defeat the French 130 years or so earlier. Basically, they let hunger and the cold defeat the Germans. However, this meant that Russia had to sacrifice millions of its own citizens as well. The objective and priority was to defeat the Germans. Russian civilians would have to be the collateral damage. Russia could not have both. They could not defeat the Germans plus save their own people.

We, too, the Malaysian citizens, have certain objectives and aspirations. But are we prepared to place these objectives and aspirations as our priority and accept the downside to whatever action we need to take?

Malaysians want everything. We want an end to Barisan Nasional/Umno rule. We know we can’t do that unless the second largest party in Malaysia (and a Malay party, too, on top of that), PAS, supports us to do that. But we want PAS on our terms, not on their terms.

When one delegate to the PAS annual general assembly stands up to propose his own party president as Prime Minister, we go berserk. We hurl insults at the entire one million members of PAS, call them Talibans, call them backward village bumpkins, question their educational background, question their level of intelligence, and so much more. We even hurl insults at Islam and suggest that Islam is the cause of the backwardness of Muslims in general and PAS people in particular.

In other words, we are telling the one million PAS members that they are not suited to become our leaders. We only want them to kick out Barisan Nasional and Umno. But we do not want them as our leaders.

Okay, I have read what you said about the one million PAS people. It is like a white man telling a non-white woman: you are only good enough for me to have sex with but you are not good enough to become my wife because of your ‘colour’.

I bet none of you looked at it in this manner. Well, that is because you are looking at things from only your perspective. You are not looking at things from the perspective of those on the receiving end of your vilification and insults.

PAS is only good enough to help us change the government. PAS is not good enough to head that government. That is your message to the one million PAS members. Even if that is not your real message, your words certainly give the impression that that is your message.

Do you all not stop to think before you say something? And now that you have said it how are you going to unsay it?

For more than a decade since the mid-1990s (when the Internet first emerged in Malaysia), I have had to endure the Malay- and Islam-bashing, by mainly the DAP Chinese supporters. And when I spoke up in defence of PAS back in the 1990s, I was whacked to kingdom come. Those who were on the late MGG Pillai’s chat group would know what I am talking about.

I eventually left that chat group because I realised I would never be able to convince those hard-core DAP supporters that we need PAS if we are going to see a change of government. It is not that I, too, had not been critical of PAS. In fact, some of the articles I wrote criticising PAS were even published in Harakah. At least PAS is democratic enough to allow articles that criticise them to be published in their party organ, Harakah.

But I criticised PAS regarding some of its stands or regarding its strategies. I did not insult Islam or Prophet Muhammad like those DAP hard-core supporters in MGG Pillai’s chat group.

I admit that I did criticise the conduct of Muslims, which got me into a heap of trouble with the authorities. But my criticism was only about the conduct of Muslims who deviate from Islamic teachings. I did not blame Islam for this conduct and say things like this proves that Islam is a bad religion — like what those DAP hard-core supporters commented in MGG Pillai’s chat group.

Many of you have probably noticed that of late I have written articles uncomplimentary of the non-Malays, in particular the Chinese. I have even written some articles uncomplimentary of the Christians. And I know many of you just hate this. And you call me a racist. Some even say that, because I am now 62, I am trying to ‘get closer’ to Islam (since I am about to die) and I do this by whacking Christianity.

If you really believe this then you are even dumber than I thought.

It is good that you hate this. I want you to hate this. I was hoping that you would hate this. I wanted you to feel what the Malays have had to endure these last many years since the 1990s when the Internet first came to Malaysia.

I write just a few articles and you get so hot and bothered. The Malays have had to take what you dish out for almost 20 years. You, however, feel that you are justified in what you do and that you have every right to do what you do because the non-Malays and non-Muslims have suffered persecution in Malaysia for 55 years since Merdeka.

Take the recent freedom of religion and apostasy issue as another example. Everyone has something to say about that, mostly the non-Malays and non-Muslims. You hide behind freedom of speech to attack Islam. You, the non-Malays and non-Muslims, demand that Malays-Muslims be allowed the right to leave Islam. You say that Islam is an outdated religion from the Dark Ages and any religion that does not allow its proponents to leave is a bad religion.

There is nothing good about Islam. Everything about Islam is bad. PAS is an Islamic party. We want PAS to help us kick out Barisan Nasional and Umno. After that the one million uneducated PAS people can return to their villages and not interfere in the running of the country. And for sure we want none of them as our top leaders.

Do you think you have just won the support of the more than one million PAS members and supporters?

You don’t like me whacking the non-Malays and the non-Muslims? I am glad that you feel that way. I am glad you don’t like being whacked. Let me share a secret with you: the Malays-Muslims also do not like the way you whack them and Islam. And they have had to endure this much longer than you have.

Now that you know what it feels like, maybe you can reassess the situation and tell me where we go from here. Your comments regarding Tok Guru Abdul Hadi Awang, apostasy, freedom for Muslims to leave Islam, etc., have caused a lot of damage.

These comments were uncalled for. Worse of all, it shows that you will not even allow PAS members the freedom of speech in their own annual general assembly where members are supposed to be free to tell their leaders what they want for their party. And you say that you are fighting for liberalism? Your liberalism means only the freedom for Muslims to leave Islam but not the freedom for Muslims to express what they want or don’t want.